Users of protective footwear often report problems with bones, joints, muscles and peripheral blood vessels in the legs, which are often caused by inadequately designed shoes.
Currently, CIOP-PIB is developing a new approach to assessing comfort of use of protective footwear as part of a research project financed by the National Science Centre. The proposed methodology aims at more objective assessment of the protective and functional properties of footwear to determine the effects of shoe design on workers’ health.
The method integrates measurements of the microclimate inside the footwear, footwear mass increase, vascular blood flow in the legs (by impedance plethysmography) and users’ well-being. The study was conducted on thirty active professional fire-fighters wearing all-rubber boots equipped with protective elements and insulated with a textile wool liner. After 60 minutes of exercise, the temperature and relative air humidity around the feet increased excessively (by 10% and 50%, respectively) as compared to optimum reference values. During the test, the footwear and liner absorbed 28 g of sweat and the total blood flow in the legs was 33% higher than the baseline. The main sensation felt by the users was increased temperature inside the footwear.
The new approach to assessing comfort of use of protective footwear can be a useful tool for objective evaluation of the hygiene of workers’ legs. We are now working to validate this method according to good laboratory practice and EU requirements concerning labour health and safety.
Figure. Mean humidity and temperature in all-rubber protective footwear.
1. Irzmańska E., Brochocka A., Majchrzycka K., Textile Composite Materials with Bioactive Melt-Blown Nonwovens for Protective Footwear, FIBRES & TEXTILES in Eastern Europe; 20, 6A(95): 119-125 (2012)
2. Irzmańska E., Dutkiewicz J.K., Irzmański R., New approach to assessing comfort of use of protective footwear with a textile liner and its impact on foot physiology, Textile Research Journal (in press)
Contact: Ph.D. (Eng.) Emilia Irzmańska, Department of Personal Protective Equipment, email@example.com